We're breaking down the status of each position on the Clemson football team every week until kickoff.
By Morgan Thomas
Position Coach: Mike Reed
Clemson's elite Cornerbacks coach took on the Special Teams Coordinator role for the Tigers in early 2022.
Who are the starters?
P: Aidan Swanson OR BT Potter
PR: Will Taylor OR Antonio Williams OR Will Shipley
K: B.T. Potter
KR: Kobe Pace OR Will Shipley OR Will Taylor OR Antonio Williams
LS: Holden Caspersen OR Philip Florenzo
Head Coach Dabo Swinney often states that his biggest role in recruiting is to continue to recruit the locker room. That being the case, he landed a big win for 2022 with the return of veteran star B.T. Potter. Potter will be entering his fifth season as a Clemson Tiger and carries with him a career field goal percentage of 74.6%. He led the Tigers in scoring in 2021 and made all 38 of his extra-point attempts. He was Mr. Perfect from 30-yards or less and can regularly be counted on for a 50-yard attempt when needed, nailing a 51-yarder against Iowa State in the bowl game. What's next for him though? Clemson is still searching for a reliable starting punter and Potter could expand his role this season if needed.
Aidan Swanson is a left-footed punter who was brought in by Tony Elliott and Danny Pearman in 2019. He played at IMG Academy and was ranked the third-best punter in the nation by PrepStar and Rivals.com. He averaged 42.3 yards per punt in 2018, however, has yet to prove that he can handle the starting position for Clemson.
Return duties are still up for grabs at this point in fall camp. Clemson has two very quick and agile options in receivers Will Taylor and Antonio Williams. Kobe Pace has also been utilized often to help provide a veteran presence with an ability to break tackles.
Who is the rising star?
True Freshman Robert Gunn III
PrepStar ranked Gunn the seventh-best kicker in the nation coming out of high school. He played in the USA vs Japan All-Star game and hit field goals of 40 and 50 yards. He finished 52 out of 55 touchbacks in his last two years in high school. Gunn III is coming off a torn ACL, however, has already shown on social media that he is back and ready to compete.
What will make 2022 a success?
Consistency is key for special teams. B.T. Potter is a proven placekicker who the staff has confidence in and Potter himself seems confident as well. If consistency is what they need over yardage, then B.T. Potter may very well find himself starting at both kicker and punter in 2022.
Explosiveness is another key for the return game. It seems like ancient history when C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford were lighting up the return game. Can Will Taylor and Antonio Williams provide that spark and give the offense the much-needed advantage in field position?
With a mix of veteran experience and new faces, I expect 2022 to be another solid year for the Clemson special teams group.
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